The Fiscal Sociology of Interventionist Democracy
CHAPTER 7 Obstacles to Fiscal Democracy 203
203 CHAPTER 7 Obstacles to Fiscal Democracy The role of context is important, even though, as we have seen in the previous chapter, we can put this variable aside in order to target the elemental factors of tax policies. It is obvious that the general situation of capitalism and of democracy, or more commonly, the periods of elections, of ideological debates, of crisis etc. influence the configura- tion of public problems to be resolved by taxes and/or public spending. All the same, the use of contexts, which opens up opportunities for reflection, changes and choice, is noted by decision-makers in an ideol- ogy of deterministic constraint. If the phenomenon is not new, as the case of war financing by the tax State illustrates, it experienced a deci- sive turnabout with the global diffusion of the neo-liberal concept of the market. Periods of “crises” (oil crises, financial bubbles, raw materials, social welfare etc.) are reinforced here by the intensification and “finan- ciarisation” of global capitalism, and are used to mask the real decisions of the interventionist State. Democratic consultation on possible choices is thus limited, in particular by the lack of clarity in the relation between tax revenue (loans, taxes) and public policies (expenditure). It is not easy to include financial action in the classic typologies of public policies: indeed taxation is used as an instrument in a complex way within fragmented issues which are related to practically all the aspects of life in society and of the economy. By its...
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